Tottenham Hotspur face local rivals West Ham United at White Hart Lane on Saturday afternoon in a must-win game for Mauricio Pochettino’s men. The hosts are clear favorites for the win and can be backed at odds from Betway of 11/20, whereas the visitors’ chances are priced at 5/1 as the bookies obviously don’t think Slaven Bilic’s men are likely to get the three points.
Spurs are currently sitting fifth in the Premier League table, five points behind surprising leaders Liverpool. They’ll surely be looking to get the three points in order to stay in touch with the teams above them.
Even though Pochettino’s men are obvious favorites for the win, the game won’t be easy for them. The local derbies are always intense and closely contested and the hosts shouldn’t be fooled by West Ham’s poor league standing.
West Ham are currently 17th in the league, only one point above the dreaded relegation zone, so defeat is definitely not an option for them. They are much better than their league standing suggests and with players such as Payet, Lanzini and Antonio, it’s only a matter of time before they start climbing the table.
Pochettino is a great motivator and is unlikely to let his players underestimate their opponents on Saturday. Spurs are a very ambitious team and they certainly don’t lack the hunger to succeed.
The fact that they’re the only unbeaten team in the league right now would surely be another motivation for the hosts. They’ve played 11 league games so far, winning 5 and drawing the other 6.
Spurs also have the best defense in the league this season, only conceding 6 goals so far.
Everything points towards a Tottenham win this weekend, but West Ham have enough quality in their squad to shock the hosts if they’re concentrated in defense and effective on the counter.
Slaven Bilic addressed the squad depth issue last summer with a number of signings, but he still has to cope with an injury crisis. Oxford, Tore, Byram, Masuaku and Carroll are all unavailable for selection due to injuries, though Collins, Reid and Sakho are all expected to be fit for the game.
The potential returns of Collins and Reid would be a major boost for Bilic as his side has been having defensive problems all season. The Hammers have conceded 20 goals in 11 games so far.
Spurs has had their fair share of injury troubles as well, but Rose, Eriksen, Janssen, Dembele and Alli are all expected to be fit for the game.
However, Pochettino will have to cope with the absence of Ben Davies, Erik Lamela and Toby Alderweireld, as all three of them are still injured.
These injury problems are quite common for this period of the season due to the congested fixture list, but the football is as entertaining as ever.
We can expect an enthralling game with lots of aggression and passion, as both sets of players know what these derbies mean to the local fans.